All things fresh water: news, analysis, humor, and commentary from Michael E. 'Aquadoc' Campana, hydrogeologist, hydrophilanthropist, Professor of Hydrogeology and Water Resources in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) at Oregon State University, Emeritus Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of New Mexico and Past President of the American Water Resources Association. He is founder and president of the nonprofit Ann Campana Judge Foundation, an organization involved with WaSH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) in Central America. CYA statement: the opinions expressed herein are solely those of Michael E. Campana and not those of CEOAS, Oregon State University, ACJF, AWRA, or any other organization.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Water For The Ages Abby, another PNWer, writes about global water issues with passion and concern.
"In general, science journalism concerns itself with what has been published in a handful ofpeer-reviewed journals - Nature, Cell, The New England Journal of Medicine - which set the agenda." - Michael Pollan
The article is behind a paywall but the abstract is below.
This article explores the emergence of collaborative institutional arrangements for managing natural resources in large-scale and complex resource settings, among numerous political jurisdictions and stakeholders. It examines four regional institutions in the United States: the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Fish and Wildlife Program, the Chesapeake Bay Program, the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. While a wealth of literature has looked at the emergence of smaller-scale resource management institutions, and some literature has begun to look at the characteristics and successes of these regional institutions, theory is lacking to explain the formation of these regional institutions. We first introduce three relevant streams of literature—on common pool resources management, on policy entrepreneurs and social capital, and on science and information in policy change—to frame our analysis. The comparisons of the cases point to the importance of integrating key insights from the literature for understanding the formation of collaborative resource governance. We emphasize how science, leadership, and prior organizational experience interact in facilitating institutional change, particularly in the process of raising awareness about resource management problems. In tracing the formation of these institutions, we also identify how external institutional triggers can help spur collaborative governance.
Collaborative resource governance? Policy entrepreneurs (both Fleck and I like that term)? I'm going to get the full paper and see what the implications are for the Bay-Delta imbroglio. Who knows?
And if that doesn't work, I'll turn my scorpion loose.
"The outstanding scientific discovery of the 20th century is not TV or radio, but rather the complexity of the land organism." - Aldo Leopold (thanks to@River_Restore)
Regardless of which season(s) you choose to celebrate this time of the year - winter, summer, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, something else, or none - WaterWired wishes you a joyous, safe, and peaceful one. And make a wish or say a prayer for peace, health, clean water, and sanitation for all.
And today's a great day for water displacement behavior!
Books Great idea! MT @jfleck Still looking for something for the middle school kid on your list? Water,climate,science!http://amzn.to/hn1nyY
"I don't speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world's getting warmer. I can't prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And No. 2, I believe that humans contribute to that ... And so I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you're seeing." - Mitt Romney, June 2011
"My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us." -Mitt Romney, October 2011
So what does California groundwater management have to do with the fabulous anthem by the Mamas and the Papas? Actually, it has more to do with the Mamas and Papas themselves: it's about as messed up as their personal lives.
What prompted this comparison and the (expected) rant? Actually, it's just a lame reason for featuring one of the great songs of the rock era.
I just got off the phone with a couple of good folks - Doug Woodcock and Ivan Gall - hydrogeologists from the Oregon Water Resources Department. They interviewed me for a volunteer position on the OWRD's Groundwater Advisory Committee(GWAC). At one point one of them asked me a question along the lines of what I thought about groundwater management issues.
Ah, California groundwater management - what a fertile topic for discussion!
Then I thought of an article friend and colleague Ari Michelsen sent me two days ago. It was from the Capital Press. The story by Tim Hearden described a day-long workshop in Corning, CA, that was organized by the University of California Cooperative Extension. The gist of the article was nothing new - concern over California's groundwater use, recharge, the state's role in groundwater management and regulation, etc.
The story begins:
The debate over what to do about declining groundwater supplies took center stage during a recent water seminar here.
In California, 30 percent of total water usage is provided by groundwater, making the Golden State the biggest user of groundwater in the nation, and 43 percent of the state's residents obtain drinking water from aquifers, said Kelly Staton, a senior engineering geologist for the state Department of Water Resources.
Studies show that water tables in the Sacramento Valley dropped an average of 5 feet from 2004 to 2010, although they've gained back about 2 feet since last year, Staton explained.
Here is some more:
Tehama County Supervisor Bob Williams, an oat and alfalfa hay producer, said there's a "quiet movement" in the state to have groundwater included under California's Public Trust Doctrine, which applies to surface water and migratory wildlife.
"There are folks who'd like to see California become like other states where the state has control over all water ... and in dry years can deny usage," Williams said during the workshop. "As a farmer, and I know there are a lot of farmers here, I know if you can't have water you can't grow a crop and you can't make a living.
"We need to pay attention, we need to be educated and we need folks to talk to their local leaders and help them understand ... both sides of the issue," he said.
Environmental folks had their say, too:
Environmentalists such as Marty Dunlap of the Chico, Calif.-based Citizens Water Watch wondered aloud whether the aquifers will ever fully recharge. They blame what they see as over-use of wells for endangering the creeks and trees that rely on the aquifers to thrive.
More from reporter Hearden:
The exchanges highlight what may be the next key battleground in California's ongoing water conflicts, as conservationists seek to have groundwater use regulated as it is in other states.
Already, the Environmental Law Foundation and other groups are suing the State Water Resources Control Board and Siskiyou County over well irrigation they say is depleting water for salmon in the Scott River. The suit could affect farmers' use of groundwater throughout the state, Siskiyou County Supervisor Marcia Armstrong has said.
Dunlap had the last word:
It seems to me that it's not very prudent to wait for an emergency situation to see that counties have the authority to make sure their ecosystems are protected," she said.
I know some people extol the virtues of local groundwater management in California and I am certainly not opposed to such approaches. But there needs to be some state oversight, because pumping or polluting groundwater in one groundwater district/basin can have effects outside the boundaries of that district/basin. And you also have the likelihood of multiple aquifers in the vertical dimension, which means that water pumped in a given district can come from different source areas. Groundwater reservoirs don't necessarily follow political or watershed boundaries. Groundwater management is less straightforward than surface water management, but many people don't understand that fact.
Enough already - it's the holiday season and I am trying to be kind. I'll stop for now before I say something controversial.
But I can dream, can't I?
"I'm just wondering who's going to step in when groundwater is critical in Northern California. It seems like nobody is really taking responsibility." - Marty Dunlap, workshop participant
Circle of Blue Circle of Blue uses journalism, scientific research, and conversations from around the world to bring the story of the global freshwater crisis to life. Here you’ll find new water reports, news headlines, and hear from leading scientists.
Drink Water For Life The idea is simple. Drink water or other cheap beverages instead of expensive lattes, sodas, and bottled water for a set period of time. A day, a week, a month, Lent, Ramadan, Passover, or some other holiday period.
eFlowNet Newsletter From the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this newsletter has lots of information about environmental flows and related issues.
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable Since 2002, the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has brought together federal, state, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors to advance our understanding of the nation’s water resources and to develop tools for their sustainable management.